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Okanagan Similkameen regional directors express policing concerns

Penticton RCMP Superintendent Kevin Hewco, centre, with Kirsten Marshall (left, rural operations) and Rachel Linklater, crime analyst. Hewco presented the detachment's quarterly report and listened to director's concerns on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016.
January 22, 2016 - 1:00 PM

PENTICTON - The region’s top cop says property crimes continue to be prolific in the area, but the problem is not unique to Penticton and the South Okanagan.

Penticton RCMP Superintendent Kevin Hewco submitted his quarterly report to the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen board of directors yesterday, Jan. 21, saying property crimes are “up across the board” in the province.

Using a crime spike in Oliver as example, Hewco noted the arrest of one prolific offender can make a huge difference statistically, like it did in that community with the arrest of one person responsible for a number of incidents.

Theft of and from vehicles are two other crimes trending upward, while violent crime is not, Hewco reported.

Hewco also introduced RCMP staff members Kirsten Marshall and Rachel Linklater to the board. Marshall is in charge of rural operations while Linklater is the detachment’s crime analyst. The positions are partially funded by the province.

Area “D” director Tom Siddon complained about a lack of visible police presence in rural areas, saying he would like to see police do something “on a targeted basis” in Okanagan Falls, as the community deals with a recent crime wave.

Osoyoos rural Director Mark Pendergraft expressed concerns about the lack of 24 hour per day policing in rural communities, something Hewco said his members were aware of. He said the issue was a sensitive one, and staff were open to “scheduling creativity” that allowed detachments the opportunity to “mix things up from time to time.” Hewco said many crimes were uncovered by police work that was conducted during late night hours.

Hewco also encouraged residents to consider purchasing a form of video security in response to a question from rural Keremeos director Roger Mayer. He said video surveillance provided a good way to gather evidence, adding police solved crimes every day from evidence gleaned through video surveillance. He did note legal issues could arise from cameras operated in the public domain, however.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
InfoTel News Ltd

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